What Makes for a Successful Celebrity Endorsement?

What Makes for a Successful Celebrity Endorsement?


The success of a celebrity endorsement depends on three things: (1) how people feel about the celebrity, (2) the strength of the connection made between the celebrity and the brand, and (3) the meaning the brand gives to that connection. The meaning is what the brand communicates about itself through the connection.

Serena Williams one of the best-known and finest tennis players of all time. People who like to think of themselves as athletic are impressed with Serena Williams. Gatorade has satisfied the first criteria for success in celebrity endorsement.

The archival footage of Ms. Williams’ career shows that she had a sense, from childhood, of who she could become and the internal drive to make that happen. The film brings to life the Gatorade slogan, “Win From Within.” Gatorade has done a great job with the third criteria of success in celebrity endorsement–defining the meaning.

What about the strength of the connection between Gatorade and Serena Williams? For two seconds in the middle of the montage of footage Ms. Williams’ career, viewers see Ms. Williams drinking Gatorade. At the end of the montage, the Gatorade slogan appears on a black screen for four seconds, and the Gatorade logo appears for two. The ad is over a minute long. For at least 10 seconds of that minute, the Wilson logo, usually in the strings of her racquet, appears in the middle of the most riveting action shots. Wilson has to be pretty happy with this ad.

Gatorade wanted to make a classy ad, and they have. But surely, with all the footage that exists of Serena Williams, there was a chance to strengthen the connection between her and Gatorade.

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